I have been guilty of thinking that Monkey knows his numbers really well, in fact he’s been able to count to 10 since the age of 18 months. I hadn’t really given much thought to it since, focusing more on vocabulary and more recently phonics. When a friend sent me an article covering off what in an ideal world a child should be able to do before going to Kindergarten panic set in! You can read the full article here.
In summary it was saying that the most important preschool math topics are:
- Counting real objects one by one accurately (ideally up to 30)
- Counting aloud – by rote (ideally up to 100)
- Recognising dot patterns on number dice
- Recognising numbers 1-10 out of order and basic shapes
Panic – now don’t get me wrong I want to raise a happy, active, imaginative kid but I also want to make sure he is in the best position possible when he goes to school. We will be making our school selection in the next couple of months and I have always had a fixation about Monkey being a Summer born baby and the impact that this may or may not have on his schooling. I am glad my friend passed me this now!
Monkey is great with sorting, he can recognise basic shapes (one of our favourite activities which combines both of these can be found here) and we play a fair amount of dice games so he knows the dots. However as far as counting is concerned we have only really rote counted out loud, he can get up to twenty with some help, but we very rarely count physical items. Patterning although in my head has never made it into any activities…..yet.
For the next few months we are going to focus on the first two bullet points since they go well together. With this in mind I set up a very simple counting activity. Using some coloured card, a sharpie and Learning Resources Counting Bears. Monkey got the bears for his Birthday but we haven’t had them out yet. Straight away he was drawn to the different colours and sizes. Made from hard plastic they are surprisingly tactile, he started to sort them while I wrote out the number cards. In the set we have there are 96 in total in six different colours and three different sizes. I can see us using them a lot in future maths activities.
I literally wrote 1-10 on the cards and laid them in a line and asked Monkey to put the right number of bears under each corresponding number, counting out loud.
It took a lot longer than I thought it would. 1-3 he did with no intervention at all then at 4 he started to need to count from the beginning. I realised very quickly his number recognition is not very good, he knows 1-3 and 5 after that he struggles. In all it took about 20 minutes to get from 1 to 10, when finished he wanted to go on and do the next set of numbers straight away (11-20). But I think we need some more practice on the first ten, and I need to work on his number recognition. I have fallen into the mistake of thinking he knows his numbers, wrong, he can count. But he does not know his numbers. However I am confident that over the next few months he will improve, I am just glad I realised now, time to get the ladybirds out…
I have set up a Pinterest board on counting activities below:
What do you do with your little ones to help with number recognition?